Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. I know, this is one of those love it or hate it holidays. Personally, I don’t care for the mushiness, stuffed teddybears, Hallmark cards, and heart-shaped everything. I do celebrate the February 14th because it’s my husband and my original anniversary of when we started dating 16 years ago!!

I think it’s a good day to celebrate someone you care about, and I don’t think that someone has to be a significant other per say. Why not a sister, brother, friend, co-worker, Mom or Dad? Remember back in grade school when you gave a Valentine to all your classmates? Let’s bring that back!!

This is one of those holidays when handmade or just really thoughtful gifts go a long way too. This year I decided to make a bunch of cute, valentine’s-inspired items for my Etsy shop. I came up with some really fun wooden spool photo holders. While the concept is not new, I gave them my own special flair by adding extra “bling” to the tops!

Valentine's Decor
Wooden Spool Photo Holder

 

And of course I had to make my own Valentine’s. As a creative and lover of the environment, I always try to make my own cards from recycled materials. I had so much fun making these first three cards. They are made from the tops of those small, square Kleenex boxes, recycled greeting cards, Starbucks corrugated cup sleeves, scrap fabric, trim and assorted embellishments.

Valentine's Day Card
Valentine’s Day Card Victorian Romance
Valentine's Day Card
Valentine’s Day Card Bohemian Lace
Valentine's Day Card
Valentine’s Day Card Carnival Love

      

 

 

 

 

 

One thing that drives me crazy about cards is that they typically aren’t something you want to keep out for very long. So, the best part about these Valentine’s is they can be hung as a keepsake!

Valentine's Day Card
Valentine’s Day Card Victorian Romance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

For our special day, my husband and I will likely go to dinner somewhere close to home. Not too fancy, but more upscale than usual. I’d most likely be able to wear a cute dress with leggings and boots, which are more my style than a little black dress with heels (I don’t do heels). Perhaps I’ll splurge on a new outfit!

Modcloth has so many cute dresses and more and they’ve made shopping for Valentine’s Day super easy by creating their Sweetheart Shop. I checked it out and here’s three items I’d like to buy for V-Day:

This is the “About the Artist” dress, which I have been obsessed with for quite some time, but have not allowed myself to purchase yet. It is so simple, but still pretty and romantic.

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About the Artist dress – Modcloth

I’d pair it with these adorable little pink ballet flats because they add just a touch more girly without being sickeningly sweet.

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Tasteful Touch flat in blush – Modcloth

Finally, this bag, omg, this bag is the icing on the cake. How amazing is this? It looks like it came right out of an antique store and the colors go with the gray dress perfectly! If I end up buying these I’ll be sure to share a pic of me in the outfit!

forget me not bag
Forget me not bag – Modcloth

See what cute things you might want for 2/14/15 at www.modcloth.com/shop/valentine-clothing-decor!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

Here’s a peek at some of the things I’ve made this Spring…

I wanted a beachy but rustic welcome sign for our front door so I painted the word on a piece of old driftwood, attached it to an old, weathered basket and embellished it with scallop shells and vintage mother-of-pearl buttons.

Welcome Sign ~ Handmade by me out of a worn shallow basket, driftwood, shells, buttons and paint.

For Mother’s Day, I knew I wanted to make gifts for my mom and my mother-in-law. I had acquired a huge bag of vintage fabrics, including tablecloths, dish towels and doilies, many, many doilies! So, when a doily bag post from Sew Mama Sew came up in my blog feed, I was beyond excited. I came up with this bag for my mom. I altered the pattern a little by using the trimmed outer edge of my green doily as an accent for the top edge of the bag.

Vintage doily flower bag ~ handmade by me following pattern from Sew Mama Sew.

I was able to use a combination of some fun fat quarters that I had in this adorable little tote, pattern courtesy Oliver + S blog. I gave this to my husband’s Mom along with the Family wall hanging inside.

Multi-fabric tote ~ handmade by me following tutorial from Oliver + S blog.
Family wall hanging ~ collaged book pages, acrylic paint and metal leaves on canvas.

I decided to make something for my Mom to hang as well. She now works from home, using my sister’s old bedroom as an office, so I thought an office sign would be neat. I attempted to make it look old-fashioned, and even painted a vintage rotary telephone on it.

Office door sign ~ collaged book pages, printed text, acrylic paint on canvas ~ a Tara White Studio original.

The wall hangings / signs were relatively easy and fun to make, so you may see some in my Etsy shop in the near future!

Pattern Making

Hello and Happy Thursday!

Back in January I wrote about the sewing machine that my husband gave me for Christmas, and how I was teaching myself the basic techniques.

Since then, I have made a ton of things, mostly from free patterns I’ve found online…

photo by Tara White Studio
Kitchenaid Bowl Cover (Pattern from Keeping it Simple blog)
photo by Tara White Studio
Lunch bag (pattern from Pink Penguin blog)
photo by Tara White Studio
Child’s Apron (pattern adapted from unknown source)
photos by Tara White Studio
Baby boy shower gifts (patterns from multiple sources)

The baby shower gifts in the last photo were made from patterns from the following blogs: clockwise from bottom left – Make it and Love itNalle’s House, The Crafted Sparrow (pattern no longer available).

I’ve also made some things from my own patterns…

Photo by Tara White Studio
Fingerless zippered gloves from upcycled pants
Photo by Tara White Studio
Drawstring whale bag (pattern by Tara White Studio)
Photo by Tara White Studio
Owl bag (Pattern by Tara White Studio)

 

The gloves were made from a pair of old pants, the ankles of which had awesome zippers on them.

The two animal bags were inspired by a pattern for a fish bag from Make it Love it blog. I had made that bag for my friend’s daughter’s 2nd birthday and it was so adorable, sadly I forgot to take a photo of it : (

Having designed my own patterns, I was very excited to hear that I could actually sell my patterns on Craftsy! Keep reading for more information!

 

How to Add & Sell a Pattern on Craftsy
(This post contains affiliate links which means I will be compensated if you purchase after clicking these links.)

CraftsyPatterns

In addition to wonderful online courses and craft supplies, Craftsy also has an independent online pattern store that lets anyone upload and sell downloadable e-patterns with no fee!

How do you add a pattern to Craftsy and start your pattern store? It’s easy!

1. Make sure you have a Paypal account. All pattern transactions happen through Paypal, and Craftsy requires that you have a Student, Premier, or Business account in order to sell patterns.
2. Put your pattern in .pdf format. You can’t upload any patterns to the online pattern store unless they’re a .pdf file format, so if they’re currently saved as a Word doc, .jpg, or other file format, you must convert it to a .pdf before you upload it to Craftsy.
3. Include a photo. All patterns must have at least one photo to accompany them, but you can add up to five photos. Colorful, interesting photos tend to work the best for catching our members’ eyes!
4. Fill out the pattern description. We will ask you some basic questions around your pattern making it easier for Craftsy folk to find your pattern and know what your pattern is for. Make sure you have info about your pattern handy for this step.

For more information on how to sell a pattern through Craftsy, or to get started, visit Craftsy today!


Thanks for reading, check back soon!

~Tara W.

 

Update: Romantic Jacket Makeover

Hola!

Yesterday I posted about a jacket makeover that I began. I finished it this morning and thought I’d update you.

As I mentioned yesterday, I followed a tutorial for adding pockets to a garment without them. The elbow patches were hand-stitched.

I also added the same floral fabric to the lapel for some color. This fabric was from some old curtains, so there were some finished edges which came in handy. I just lined the fabric up to the existing lapels, pinned it and trimmed accordingly. I then used a zig-zag stitch to attach them.

I scrapped the large white doily I had in yesterday’s image and decided instead to go with two square pink ones, lined up vertically on the back. Since these are crocheted and pretty loose, I decided to treat them more as appliques. Using the overcasting foot, I sewed an overcasting stitch carefully around much of the doily, leaving spaces for the belt to loop under.

Of course I never know when enough is enough, so I added some bling to the front in the form of some vintage jewelry. I also added an antique metal eagle to the back to contrast the slightly girly pink doilies!

I most likely won’t be wearing this until the Spring, but I think it will be great to wear antiquing!

~*`Tara`*~

Upcycled vintage doilies, curtains and jewelry as embellishments on a plain jacket.
Upcycled vintage doilies, curtains and jewelry as embellishments on a plain jacket.

 

Paper bowls and a box of natural goodies!

Hello,

I thought I’d check in and give you a little update on some of the things I’ve been up to this month.

One event that I’ve been planning for this month is the Employee craft fair I organized at my work. We held one in December that was pretty successful so we wanted to see how a summer one would go. The items ranged from sea glass jewelry to crocheted octopi. This time around, we will have baked goods and gourmet salsa too! I will be selling some of the clay jewelry and figurines that I’ve mentioned here as well as some new items that are not on Etsy yet. Here’s the story behind one of my projects for the fair…

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A while back I purchased a paper making kit from Wooden Deckle. I had made some paper a long time ago and still had a container of pulp that I made myself from recycled paper, in the fridge that I was afraid might go bad soon (I guess that just means get moldy). I broke out the kit again to make some grass paper – yup, paper with grass clippings in it! It came out looking very natural and rustic, I love the look.

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It made eight 3 x 4 pieces and had a ton of pulp leftover. Instead of throwing it away, I decided to make some bowls out of it. I just molded the pulp into various bowls that I had in the kitchen and let them sit, for a very, very long time. Of course I got impatient after a few days and tried to speed up the process in a low temp oven, unsuccessfully. So I worked on other projects while waiting for them to dry almost completely before I could remove them from their molds. I neglected to take photos at that point. I decided to paint them instead of leaving them natural, because it would make them more durable and perhaps slightly functional, definitely not meant for food though! And I was quite pleased by how lovely they turned out…

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Hopefully there is some interest in these at the fair, otherwise I will definitely be listing them on Etsy soon!

Last year I mentioned my love of flea markets and how my father, sister and I frequented the local ones. This year we had yet to go so my Dad and I went a few weeks back and I hit the jackpot! And bonus, it only cost me $10!! My score is pictured below and includes a bag of multicolored threads, a bag of black buttons, a giant spool of gold thread, a seashell stamp, a bag of ivory ribbon, a bunch of leather laces, several pieces of moon and stars costume jewelry and a vintage gingham scarf.

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I am a huge fan of having things delivered to my door, anything that means I don’t have to shop in public is amazing to me! So when I saw an ad for healthy, all natural snacks that are automatically shipped to you every month, I had to try it out! A few weeks ago I registered with Nature Box, for only $5 for the first month and $19.95 each month after. Not a bad price for all natural foods that are the most expensive type at the supermarket. Plus, a “no questions asked” cancellation policy if unsatisfied. Basically, nothing to lose. Another major bonus with this company is that for every person that you refer (who joins through your referral link) you get a $10 credit and could, in theory, end up with free natural snacks!!! Well, I got the introductory box today and I was majorly impressed! It came with six decent-sized bags of various healthy, many vegan, snacks, including plantain chips, cherry granola and mango almond bites. I tried the latter already and they are delicious, seriously! I highly, highly recommend trying them out, and not only because I want credits (but if you sign up through my link, I will be forever grateful!!)  Share the NatureBox Love!!

 

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My Dad’s antiques and a beach-inspired project!

What a beautiful weekend we are having here in New England! And thank goodness because I was pretty sick last week and the warmer weather was just what the doctor ordered!

Since I was feeling better Saturday, I stopped over at my Dad’s house for a bit. He had a bunch of old jewelry, coins and other items he wanted me to check out, thinking I could possibly use them in my work. Well, was he right! In case I have not already mentioned, my Dad, sister and I love antiques, especially hunting for them! Once the warm weather returns for good, we will definitely be going on some antiquing and flea market excursions, so I am sure I will have plenty more to share!

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This weekend, I was very lucky to acquire a giant lot of items from my Dad and Grandmother, everything from primitive glass and stone arrowheads, to antique jewelry.

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This piece, a vintage brass locket or pill case, is one of my favorites. It has amazing detailed flowers and scroll work on both sides but there are no markings indicating when and where it was made, unfortunately.

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These two pieces are also very interesting. The top one is inscribed on the back with “W * F 1/40 10 KT R.G.P.”, which I just learned means 10 Carat rolled gold palladium, but am unsure about the “W F”. The emblem on the front reads, “Syracuse University Founded…”. There is some deposit that would have to be carefully chipped off so I cannot make out any date that might be there. The bottom one is a sterling silver ID bracelet belonging to a Donna Faye Norwood. My father actually found that in a stone wall in front of a place he used to live, so it is possible we may be able to locate someone who may have known her.

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Then there was the tiniest ring I have ever seen! Shown above inside of my own size 4 engagement ring. It looks and feels like silver but there are no engravings that I can see. Maybe it is just a charm, but it is adorable!

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My father is a coin collector and while he has many unique and valuable coins, he comes across some not-so-valuable yet very cool looking coins in from time to time (top left). I liked the ones with holes in them because I do not currently have drilling capabilities and these can easily be incorporated into jewelry. Some are just old toll tokens that were punched after use, they may be worthless but they have a lot of character! He also gave me a horn (top right), an abalone shell (bottom left) and several quartz crystals (bottom right). I think these will be very cool as props in some of my jewelry photography.

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The last item, and biggest item, is this cast iron stand, that I have not been able to identify, but think must have held a bell at some point. Felt was glued to the bottom a long time ago on which someone wrote, “Deacon Home”. My Dad is fairly certain it came from a church. That adds to the probability of the bell holder theory in my mind. While I really should not be bringing more items into my already cluttered and tiny home, this was way too cool to pass up and could be used as a unique jewelry display. And if you’re thinking, “I can’t believe this girl is taking all of her dad’s great vintage finds”, well, rest assured that there is enough stuff in his one bedroom apartment to fill a museum. We actually had that conversation while I was there, I suggested that he charge people admission when they come over!

Also this weekend, I finished a project I have been thinking about for a few weeks now. On one of many walks to the boat landing down the street from us, I came across a cool, weathered piece of wood with awesome chipped blue paint and a couple nails sticking out of it. I also found a horseshoe crab carapace, the animal’s hard outer covering. I knew I wanted to make some type of sign incorporating the two as well as other objects, to give the look of a pile of stuff washed up on the beach.

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I was super excited about the finished product and it looks awesome on the front of our house. And yes, it is that way to the beach!

Do you love to find things? What’s the best thing you’ve come across – whether at a yard sale, flea market, thrift shop, walk on the beach or even in the trash?

Saving the environment and money, one button at a time!

Welcome to the blog for Tara White Studio! I am so excited to share my first post with you on this lovely snowy day!

I’d like to begin by giving you a quick tour of the actual “studio” space that I work in.

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Here it is! Since our place is small, this is actually the corner of our living room, which was previously the dining room, but who needs one of those? The beautiful cabinet on the right was my Nana’s and I recently bought the desk and bookcase to match. They provide necessary storage space, while reducing the cluttered look of such a small space. I just have to be careful about how many “supplies” I keep at once; I tend to be a slight hoarder.

My material of choice lately is polymer clay. It is so fun and easy to work with, leaves very little mess and can be baked in your oven. I always hand-sculpt each piece and never use molds, that way each is completely unique. Then I paint, add textural elements, bedazzle, you name it!

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When possible, I utilize pieces of broken or vintage jewelry for the necklaces I make. I also love to incorporate found objects into my pieces. This jar of buttons, accumulated over time, could translate into many, many new and beautiful works of art. Not only is this method environmentally friendly, but it saves so much money. I love going to flea markets, antique stores, yard sales, even…I’ll admit it…”free” boxes on the sidewalk! All great places to find materials to give new life!

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I just completed photographing several new necklaces featuring handmade clay sand dollar charms as well as buttons from the old jar here. I’ll be listing them shortly, but here’s a sneak peek at one of the final products:

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Now it’s time to get listing! I am excited to get these in the Etsy shop these because it means I can get started on my next project!

Thank you so much for checking out my new blog! Hope to see you again next week!

~*’*Tara*’*~

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